Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids
Many parents don’t realize how important it is to pack a healthy lunch for their kids. Food is our energy, our fuel, and with out sufficient energy how do you expect your kids to learn or even pay attention in school? It is becoming more and more clear to the world the negative effects of unhealthy eating habits. Thanks to Dr. Oz, the authors of books such as Wheat Belly, Eat to Live and the 17 Day Diet – many adults have started to make a change in what they put in their mouths… but what about the kids? We hear of the excuses that the kids “don’t like that” or that “they will only eat pizza and chicken fingers”. Umm yeah because that is what you are feeding them! If some let YOU eat chicken fingers and pizza all the time, why would you eat anything else?!
The key to implementing healthy food into your childs diet is to start slowly. Most likely if you just throw a new food into your childs lunch box they are not going to eat it. Mix new foods in with old ones that they already love and they may not even notice or they will at least be curious enough to try. Start by mixing cooked vegetables or a good protein in with their mac n cheese, in sandwiches replace half of the amount of mayonnaise you would use with 1/2 low fat plain yogurt. Start substituting white breads and pasta with whole grain bread and pasta. The best tasting bread I have found is Ezeikiel bread and my favorite pasta (that doesn’t taste like cardboard) is pasta made from quinoa, artichoke or rice flour. Also – peanutbutter has a ton of salt and sugar in it, so try and start going towards the low sodium, all natural and/or almond butters.
Another great way to get your child to eat their healthy lunch is to involve them in choosing the meals. Instead of asking “What do you want for lunch today?” ask them “Do you want tuna or turkey? Apple, orange or banana?” Don’t let them have the freedom to completely choose or most likely they will choose the same old unhealthy things. Give them healthy choices, and if they at least get to be part of the process, they get what they are in the mood for that day, not just what you decided to stick them with.
When you buy lunch meat try to buy the least processed as possible, or even better use leftover fresh cooked meat from the night before. What’s more delicious than a fresh slice or chicken or turkey in a sandwich or on a salad?
Every meal your child eats should always have a source of protein and a vegetable. If you remember that you will be on the right track. ALSO – try to stay away from sugary drinks such as juice and soda. Try to replace with water, flavored water, or 1% milk.
So now that we have covered that… here are a few lunch box ideas that you can take home to your kids!
- fresh sliced ham, turkey, chicken or tuna sandwich with 1/2 mayo, 1/2 yogurt
- home made pizza with veggies and low fat cheese
- peanut butter/Almond butter sandwich with whole grain bread and sliced fresh fruit instead of jelly
- whole grain quesadilla with chicken, cheese and vegetables
- string cheese
- hummus and veggies
- ranch dressing and veggie sticks
- whole grain crackers
- Fresh fruit/fruit salad
- trail mix
- 60% cocoa chips
- low fat yogurt
Keep in mind that the more sugar and junk food that you feed them, the more sugar and junk food they will crave. You be the boss when it comes to food, don’t let your child demand foods that are not healthy for them. A healthy child = a happy child
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